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The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

Alumni Spotlight: Jianna Liu’s (‘19) Journey to Forbes 30 Under 30

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Jianna Liu
Jianna Liu (’19) is the co-founder of Leafpress, an AI company striving to report carbon emissions.

Jianna Liu graduated from Amador Valley High School in 2019 and went on to study computer science at MIT. Now, four years later, she is the co-founder of the AI company Leafpress and an esteemed entrepreneur featured in this year’s Forbes “30 Under 30” list.

Creating the Company

The Forbes “30 Under 30” list honors 600 young entrepreneurs each year. Leafpress’s founders were recognized in the “Social Impact” section of the list for their contribution to climate sustainability.

Liu has been passionate about climate change from a very young age. She manages the technological side of her company, which uses AI to analyze and report carbon emissions.

“[Climate change] is a huge issue that needs to be solved. My inspiration for starting the company comes from that passion. After graduating from college, I knew I wanted to have an impactful career,” said Liu.

In 2023, Liu partnered with Harvard alumni Devi Jha to found Leafpress, a real estate data aggregation platform that monitors carbon emissions using AI. Jha currently manages the company’s business aspect. The two founders received abundant support from Y-Combinator, a technology startup accelerator.

“[We] applied to Y-combinator and got in! We received $500,000 and they gave a lot of support, mentorship, and a community,” said Liu.

Even with this support, Liu ran into numerous challenges building up her company. 

“The biggest challenge we faced was learning how to sell into real estate. Real estate is a large industry. Another challenge has been learning how to scale up the software and building it to fit our clients’ needs,” said Liu.

A Learning Journey

Despite these setbacks and trials, Liu was able to stay motivated and continue her passion.

“I just want to grow and learn different skills, and I think that’s how I stay motivated. When I started, I’d only done projects as a hobby, so I’ve never seen anything out that thoroughly. I’m extremely invested in seeing Leafpress through, not only because of the huge learning opportunities but because of the impact,” said Liu.

Through her journey, she has also learned about the ins and outs of entrepreneurship and leadership.

“In terms of management, I’ve learned how to break down the tasks, separate them, and try to optimize so that whoever is working on a task can learn the most that they can. In terms of decision-making, learning how to prioritize has been huge,” said Liu.

Additionally, Liu has learned to enjoy work-life balance. This balance is still something new to her, as she has never worked for herself.

“Working for myself is pretty flexible. I do prefer this to past experiences because I enjoy making my own schedule, figuring out what I want to do and what’s best for the company, and not having someone else tell me what to do. I work a lot, but I can also take a break whenever I want,” said Liu

As she continues to learn and grow as a co-founder and CTO, Liu is excited about the future of her company. Forbes 30U30 is just the beginning of a journey with endless possibilities and a healthier planet.

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